On the season final of SAS Australia: Hell Week, six civilian recruits remained with just two days to go in the gruelling selection process.
Ready to push beyond their limits in the final stages were rapper Isabella Rositano, 25; holistic health coach James Carson, 30; dancer James Fenwick, 29; tradie Luke Stanton, 31; surfer Mitch Fuller, 22; and dating coach Sarah Jeavons, 25.
Phase one demanded a cat crawl race along a 30 metre rope, suspended 50 metres above ground on the edge of a cliff face.
While some lacked focus, it was Isabella’s blatant display of disrespect which saw all six recruits punished with a sickener, the worst type of beasting there is, which only ends when somebody quits.
Despite Isabella’s actions causing the brutal thrashing, it was Mitch who was first to VW after two hours, sacrificing himself for the good of the group.
“I knew I had more in me but I couldn’t let them suffer anymore,” said an emotionally distraught Mitch. “I nearly got there, that’s all that matters. I’ve learnt a lot.”
As her fellow recruits questioned Isabella’s integrity, the final five then bared their souls in an honesty test, telling each other the one thing they’re most ashamed of in their lives.
The last morning of the seven-day condensed course saw recruits tackle a variety of difficult obstacles on a two kilometre circuit.
Isabella struggled, falling behind the other recruits, but her stubbornness to not withdraw only made the others suffer more. Chief Instructor Ant Middleton eventually told Isabella she was out of time and took her number, culling her from the course himself.
“That was easily the best experience of my life,” said Isabella. “I can’t believe some of the things I did. The biggest thing I learnt would be to keep my mind on all the time. I think I’m more confident because I know what I’m capable of. I’m wrecked, right now I feel like I’m going to die but that’s ok because I’ll die happy.”
The four remaining recruits then faced their final mission: working in pairs, they had to jump from a helicopter into enemy territory, then – navigating their way with a map – find a cache of equipment, before completing a difficult hostage rescue scenario in a cabin filled with crippling tear gas.
Sarah and her partner James C were unable to complete the task, let down by James’ hesitation, while James F and Luke successfully rescued the hostage.
After one of the tightest deliberations the DS have ever had, Ant revealed that Sarah and James F had passed selection, with the other two lacking that tiny bit at the end to get them over the line – despite an outstanding effort.
“This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” said Sarah. “I came here to prove a point, to prove my resilience, to prove that I’m capable of doing this, because I’ve doubted myself a lot throughout my life. I stuck to it, even when I wanted to quit.”
“I’m absolutely on top of the world,” said James F. “This course has changed my life. It’s broken me down and made me assess myself, my weaknesses and face up to my fears. Moving on with my life now, I feel like I’m capable of so much more. It’s changed my perspective on life and changed me as a person.”